When we say “Yes!” to following God and giving our hearts over completely to Him, we aren’t guaranteed an easy, simple, or perfectly happy life for the rest of our days. If anything, as James 1:2 tells us, we need to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”
Whenever. Not if. As followers of Christ, we will experience trials in our time here on earth.
But if you’re anything like I was, the concept of considering a difficult thing “pure joy” left me scratching my head in confusion.
How would I do that? What did I need to change in myself so I could be filled with actual joy and not just fake it?
Previously in my life, when hard times would arrive and I would start to feel crushed and alone, I could almost always pinpoint a moment where I was presented with a very clear choice.
Choose to rejoice, praise God, and rest in my identity as a daughter of the King or continue wallowing in my sadness and “woe is me” attitude that I had cultivated greatly. Honestly, it was about a 60/40 split for when I would choose to “consider it pure joy”.
I was tired of feeling like I had let God down or that I wasn’t “spiritual” enough, “Christian” enough, or “insert description here” enough.
I came to my Discipleship Training School at the tail-end of a hard decision where I had flip-flopped between my selfish feelings and trusting God to take care of me. I was exhausted and a little annoyed with myself and I expected this DTS would just be another time of me feeling ashamed that I wasn’t good enough to trust God in the hard times as well as the good.
As the weeks went on and the lectures continued, I found this sneaking truth coming out of everything our speakers were talking about.
That this God that I love, that loves me, created the heavens and the earth. He set the stars in the sky and He calls them by name. He knows every twist and turn of everyone’s lives and He isn’t surprised or worried when things get a little rocky.
I was getting caught up in the circumstances and issues right in front of me. I was letting these things distract me and take my eyes off the majesty and power of God. I had subconsciously chosen in my head to believe that it was up to me to choose how situations would turn out; good if I listened to more worship music, bad if I complained to my friends.
That’s the farthest thing from the truth.
My DTS brought my reality and vision back to the truth. It has never been up to me or how much I think I can control things to make sure situations turn out okay.
Our speakers shared the reverence and honor they have for God with us and it changed my heart’s posture without my even being aware of it.
We never spoke about a cutesy little five-step list that we can turn to in times of stress or the best albums to listen to while we make hard decisions. We simply learned to refix our eyes on the Author of our faith. The One who is in control. To trust in His magnitude and ability to take care of us.
As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, “We felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again.”
God was going to grab hold of my thought processes and beliefs no matter what, but I believe being able to be in an environment like a Discipleship Training School made it a safe place for me to experience that heart change. I was supported, encouraged and loved through every revelation God gave me in my time as a DTS student and I’ll never be the same.
Port YWAM Kona DTS Alumna